Review of Keeper by Kathi Appelt

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review of Keeper by Kathi AppeltKeeper by Kathi Appelt
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2012-05-22
Genres: Animals, Family, Legends, Myths, Fables, Marine Life, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

Keeper was born in the ocean, and she believes she is part mermaid. So as a ten-year-old she goes out looking for her mother—an unpredictable and uncommonly gorgeous woman who swam away when Keeper was three—and heads right for the ocean, right for the sandbar where mermaids are known to gather. But her boat is too small for the surf—and much too small for the storm that is brewing on the horizon.Kathi Appelt follows her award-winning and New York Times bestselling novel The Underneath with this stunning, mysterious, and breathtaking tale of a girl who outgrows fairy tales just a little too late—and learns in the end that there is nothing more magical and mythical than love itself.

You know how there are some people who really like fire and others who really like water? Well, I think I am both. I love the ocean, yet I also love a nice bonfire. Keeper by Kathi Appelt called to mind a glorious vacation by the ocean which I once had. I read this entire book in the car in less than two hours. I know its weird, but I like to sit in the car while my boyfriend coaches soccer. There are no distractions and I get a lot of reading done during his games. While I read this, I was not in the car, I was transported to a beach near the Gulf of Mexico. Keeper just had this tangible salt air taste to it. Upon closing Keeper by Kathi Appelt, I was sad to be in upstate NY and not on some beach.

I’m guessing at this point you want to know all about the plot of Keeper by Kathi Appelt. Keeper is the main character, she’s an eleven year old girl who lives with her adopted mother, Signe, after her biological mother left her. One day, Keeper’s mum decides to make some crab gumbo to celebrate the blue moon, it being tradition and all. This leads to the beginning of Keeper’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, as she decides to make like Hermione and emancipate the crabs, eventually culminating in an adventure on the sea with her four-legged BFF, BD short for Best Dog, and a sea gull. There’s mermaids, stingrays, and well, another dog. If you are an adult like me and grew up loving books which took you on an adventure with a hint of magic, well you will love Keeper by Kathi Appelt.

I thought Keeper by Kathi Appelt was a gorgeous book, and rather the perfect middle grade book. It never condescended or talked down to the reader, which I find to be very important to my personal enjoyment of children’s reads. I feel books that give the reader some semblance of credit do stand the test of time, just check out anything by Roald Dahl or The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster to test my theory. I admit, the prose was lovely and chock full of magical realism, it was as though perhaps even my world has some hidden magic. I love when a book can make me believe things like that.

Within Keeper by Kathi Appelt, there is art, which I thought was a nice touch. There’s one picture in particular which reminded me of something Shaun Tan would illustrate. I know I haven’t reviewed The Arrival yet, but trust me, that is a compliment. Again, I like when pictures within books fit the style and taste of the book. The art was fluid and again, very mindful of a cool ocean breeze. (Yes friends, I am chock full of ocean comparisons today!)

Keeper was an incredibly quick read despite it’s four hundred pages. I loved that there was a DOG within the book. The end of the book left me with chest drops and rises as well as misty eyes. I won’t say whether the ending is happy or sad, but that I was emotionally invested. I know I’ve had other books pitched at me as the perfect beach read but found I had to put them down for a bit. Now Keeper by Kathi Appelt, this is my new you gotta read this at the beach book. I don’t care if you aren’t a middle schooler, this book was fabulous!


Other Reviews of Keeper by Kathi Appelt:

Abby (The) Librarian
Just Bookin Around

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Great review. I have this on my shelves now. I'll be sure to read it soon.

  2. Michelle says

    I read this and was waiting to post my review until a bit closer to the release date. I loved it too. It was an easy read, but I just loved the story. It will appeal to adults and children alike!

  3. Wow. I had never heard of this before but I now I HAVE to read it. Perfect review.

  4. Audrey; (AyC) says

    Hey! visiting from The Saturday Network 🙂 but I'm an old follower and reader :p
    great review! I'm not usually a fan of MG books, and this one seems really long… I might try it, it looks pretty good =)

  5. Jan von Harz says

    What a very thoughtful and well-written review. I am totally sold on this one just based on all the praise you have given it. I think this will be a wonderful addition to my middle school shelves. Thanks for turning me on to this one.

  6. Jill of The O.W.L. says

    I'm so glad this book is getting good reviews. It sounds fantastic and I think the author is someone we'll be seeing more good things from!


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